The Jeanneau NC 795’s biggest selling point is that it can be a pleasant express cruiser with the sliding doors wide open along with the sunroof and side windows. In that mode, it’s really a runabout with a hardtop. But if the weather turns cold or wet, the 795 can easily button up into a comfy all-weather cruiser. And with plenty of room inside, it’s not going to feel crowded. By comparison, the Cutwater 24 Sport Coupe ($110,000), with a similar layout, has soft windows and doors while offering an optional generator.
No one will label the NC 795 as sleek, but she has a sort of largish appeal, much like a Cadillac Escalade, and we thought the rakish roofline gave the 795 a look of insouciance, like a Frenchman with a tilted beret.
The cockpit is surprisingly large, with a full-width bench-style seat aft (removable for kicking up the outboard) and twin settees. This combination is completed with a fiberglass table for alfresco dining, and it can drop down to become a sun pad that still leaves space to walk through a hinged door to the large teak-planked swim platforms.
The single-level floor from cockpit to salon is appealing, and parents are going to appreciate the 2-foot-5-inch coaming height in the cockpit too. Inside the salon, the windows are cleverly designed, dropping low to deck level next to the dinette so even the little folks can have a view when seated.
The galley is really a mini kitchenette along the starboard-side and, while you’re not going to turn out duck à l’orange from the one-burner stove, it does have the essentials for basic overnighting, with a small sink plus a mini fridge under the dinette seat. Counter space is increased by hinging the helm seat up, which seemed odd until we realized it would be a perfect panini press when slammed down onto a sandwich.
The helm is a tidy affair with a molded black console with room for a Lowrance GPS/plotter as well as (aboard our test boat) the Yamaha LCD engine monitor. The reliance on the use of GPS is emphasized by the placement of a tiny 3-inch compass more than 5 feet from the helmsman’s eye and essentially unreadable. The helmsman also has to contend with the all-white dashboard, which reflects a white glare in the windshield that reduces visibility.
To port is a dinette with a forward backrest that reverses to become a companion seat for the skipper, and the dinette also converts to a berth that the brochure calls a “double,” but at 5 feet 8 inches long and just 3 feet 5 inches wide, hmm — probably best for kids.
Step down from the salon into the forward cabin, with a surprisingly large enclosed head to starboard that is mostly molded fiberglass for easy cleaning — a plus with kids. A hot-and-cold shower is located in the cockpit; go au naturel or in a swimsuit when you want to lather up.
The forward berth is multisided with a filler for added space. It’s 5 feet 6 inches fore and aft from the forward bulkhead. If you stretch out catty-cornered from opposite corners, you get up to 6 feet 5 inches, so you and your significant other may want to stretch out for a trial before you plan an overnighter. In any case, it’s a great place to tuck the kids for an afternoon nap.
Our test boat had the optional shore-powered air-conditioning package, which made the interior pleasant even in muggy Florida conditions, in spite of the large windows.
Power for our test boat was a Yamaha F200 outboard that pushed us to nearly 40 mph, which is plenty quick for a family cruiser. We didn’t have raging seas for our test, but this is the same hull as the thousands of the fishing version of the Jeanneau 795 that regularly venture out in the often nasty Bay of Biscay. She handles pleasantly, banking nicely into turns, and we were able to make big wakes to test the double-strake hull with its chine flats. It’s no deep-V but, on the other hand, it’s not a pounder either. Call it well-proven and seaworthy.
We liked the wide side decks with 18-inch rails, and the well-placed handrails on the cabin top make going forward safe and secure. Once forward, the entire cabin top has a sun pad best for kids, since it’s shortish and slopes away on the sides. A large anchor locker conceals the optional anchor windlass with its bow roller.
A fresh take on how families use their boats, the Jeanneau NC 795 introduces the European pocket cruiser to these shores, and we’ll bet buyers are going to say, “Oui!”
* Oversize sliding door provides all-weather boating
* Great visibility, especially for the skipper
* Large windows allow kids to see out from the dinette
* Oddly sized forward berth
* Minimalist galley
* Small convertible dinette
Price: $90,000 (with Yamaha F200)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F200
Drive/Prop: Outboard/14.5″ x 14″ stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.86:1
Fuel Load: 70 gal.
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Jeanneau America – Annapolis, Maryland; 410-280-9400; jeanneauamerica.com